This is a week that culminates with the final Classic of the St Leger, and hot favourite is Kew Gardens trained by Aidan O’Brien. The master of Ballydoyle has been successful in the race five times from 42 runners across the last 18 years. Aidan will no doubt be multiply represented and without question the strongest of which will be Kew Gardens who position as favourite hardened with his third in the Great Voltigeur at York. 17 of the last 30 favourites have won.
Nine horses have run in the Great Voltigeur and come on to win since 1997 from nearly 60 runners. The winner of the race at York was Old Persian who for me just kept galloping and appeared to have enough in the locker for a little more come Doncaster and the never ending straight.
Since 2000 five winners had run in the Gordon Stakes (That’s from 40 runners who attempted the feat – this year Dee Ex Bee). Horses to have run in the Derby have won seven times since 2003 – that has been from 34 runners – this year Kew Gardens and Dee Ex Bee are amongst the qualifiers. The Doncaster St Leger Festival starts on Wednesday with the much-anticipated Leger Legends race.
On to Tuesday the calm before the Doncaster metaphorical storm. The ground is good at Catterick they have attracted plenty of runners which makes finding winners very tricky. However, trainer Archie Watson has found this a happy place as from just six runners he has had three winners. In the 4.05 at the course he saddles Gratified ridden by Edward Greatrex. Trainer and Jockey have struck up a great partnership of 20%. As yet the potential of Gratified is not known. He has tried a mile on debut and since has dropped down to 7f then 6f on his next too starts. His main trouble has been settling as he races too keenly, even with that he has been given a rating of 77 which could well be lenient against rivals which are now exposed and have less pliable marks.
Leicester host a three-runner conditions stakes over 5f at 3.45. It doesn’t seem right that Line Of Reason should concede a pound to Equilateral but if you want to be really harsh the Charlie Hills runner has yet to fulfil his potential which is very disappointing. Line Of Reason was very unlucky in the Beverley Bullet behind Take Cover and Callum Rodriquez will lighten the load in the saddle by a further 3lb.
Chris Wall’s runners have been running well without winning, I felt for him when his grey Ice Lord missed out by a short-head to win the same Ascot handicap he did 12months ago on Saturday. Mountain Rescue has been given some stern examinations this season. Never in contention in the Royal Hunt Cup, he was unlucky when finishing in mid-division in the Bunbury Cup against Burnt Sugar. On his next start he was third to Sea Fox, with Ripp Orf behind him in fourth, form that now looks very good indeed he runs in tomorrow’s 4.20 at Leicester.
Dr Doro may well be poised to win again, she runs in the Salisbury 4.00 with Jim Crowley in the saddle. Ian Williams trains and this one might be competitive amidst the 14 runners in the 5 furlong handicap. She had been off the card for nearly 500 days when in 2015 she had run up against the likes of Marsha and Quiet Reflection. A modicum of that ability will see her be competitive in this field.
Jason Watson continues to have a fabulous year in part it can in a small way be attributed to his partnership with Foxtrot Lady who he recorded two big wins on in May and June. The pair team up once more seeking glory in Salisbury’s condition stakes at 5.40 and she receives weight from all she must have a claims on her fourth win of the year.
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